The discussion went something like this “Who wants to take care of us when we’re older, so we can age in place and die at home?” And, the response went something like this, no hands went up. It was Christmas 2016 and we were all together; three grown children, our daughter’s partner, and our son’s dog. The conversation expanded, and the ideas flowed; we talked about creating an intentional community, supporting each other, sharing spaces, the cost of living in beautiful BC, and what our collective future might look like if we all made a move, a bold move, to live communally.
Now this type of living is not completely new to us, my healthy parents moved in to share our Sidney, BC home in 1995, just after we arrived on the island. We lived and learned together. My father died with us nine years later and then our mother, 11 years later, having lived with us for 20 years. So, our kids understood what it was to share space, to live with elders, to put family first. We were seven in a 1972 raised bungalow, and we were happy.
Home for us has never meant ‘house’, it has always meant ‘family’ and for us that has always included many; all those who have shared time with us, had a place in our home, held a place in our heart. So many have come through our doors, sat at our table, and shared our life’s journey. Leaving this home will not be easy but it will be intentional. We’ll hold our memories close. And, while there is great anticipation, there is also trepidation. Fear, however, doesn’t serve any of us well, and we have never based our decisions on what might go wrong, but rather what might go right.
Back to that dynamic conversation that continues to be shaped by life’s journey, by circumstance and now by COVID. The irony is not lost on us; we are building a sustainable lifestyle in precarious pandemic times. And we are grateful, to know what’s possible and to be healthy enough to make it happen. Houses are not built on love, but a strong foundation has certainly held us up during this time.
And yes, we know how privileged we are; we are grateful. We recognize that many will never live in, own, or build their own home; we are blessed. We know we have a responsibility; to take only what we need, to be conservative with natural resources, to create a small footprint, and to steward the land with future generations in mind; we are humbled.
And so, as we move forward with whole hearts and half the space, we are asking as many questions as possible, learning all we can from those who know more, and leaning into another way of living, on purpose, with purpose.